Loarre Castle, Aragon, Spain
Astoft


Loarre Castle and Chapel, Aragon, Spain

11th Century

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Loarre Castle, Aragon, Spain
         
          
         
              
         
  Loarre castle was an important fortress in the 10th and 11th centuries in the struggles between Christians and Muslims. It stands on a rocky hill between Jaca and Huesca with open views of the plains to the south and east. Sancho Ramirez, king of Aragon, fortified and embellished it further in the second half of the 11th century, adding a Romanesque chapel (see below) and a college of Augustinian canons.
The outer wall and its towers date from 13th and 14th centuries.
 
         
         
         
                   
         
  East end of the Romanesque chapel built in the second half of the 11th century by Sancho Ramirez, King of Aragon. Engaged columns and arched windows, the lower level marking the crypt set into the rock and supporting the chapel above. A covered, barrel-vaulted stone staircase under the chapel leads up to the interior. It has chequerboard friezes.  
         
Chapel, Loarre Castle              
         
  The chapel is tall, the midddle a square space with a cupola supported by double squinches, one above the other, and small, round windows between.
The semicircular sanctuary at the east end has a ring of round-arched windows, two of them blank. Below that a ring of many smaller arches.
Chequerboard friezes are prominent in the chapel, as are the intricately carved capitals of the columns.
The west end of the chapel has a barrel vault and a plain end wall with parts of the rock showing.
 
         
                   
         
  The castle is a complicated structure, different parts built at different times largely through the 11th and 12th centuries. The pictures above show parts of the castle leading finally to the highest part of the rock (third picture) where there is a level space with various structures including a plain, early Romanesque chapel from the first half of the 11th century (preceding the larger chapel at the lower level built later in the century).  
         
  Aerial Photographs of the Castle - extremely good  

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